Allen Research Group

Hail - Tornadoes - Climate Variability - Extremes

Allen Photo

Dr. John T. Allen

Curriculum Vitae

j [dot] t [dot] allen [at] cmich [dot] edu
Dr. Allen is a meteorologist and climate scientist, originally from Sydney, Australia. He completed his B.S. Degree in Earth Sciences (Meteorology and Applied Mathematics) at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and went on to pursue an honors by research in meteorology and subsequently a doctorate at the same institution with support from an Australian Postgraduate Award. From 2013-2016 he completed a three-year Postdoctoral appointment at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, before promotion to Associate Research Scientist and joined CMU in summer 2016. At CMU he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, serves as Director of the Earth and Ecosystem Science Ph.D. program, and as coordinator of the Environmental Analytics minor. Beyond his research at CMU Dr Allen teaches Atmospheric Thermodynamics, Mesoscale Meteorology and Atmospheric Modeling, along with an introductory course on Severe and Unusual Weather.

Dr Allen's research interests span the operational forecasting of severe storms to applied analysis of risk statistics and how these events can be modulated by the climate system. Many of his publications focus on the climatology of historical severe weather events, and the response of these events to climate change and variability. This includes contributions to our understanding of severe thunderstorms and extreme weather over four continents, as well as exploring our global knowledge on the topic. His research and written contributions have been featured in Science, Nature, Scientific American,, Die Welt, The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, CBC News and ABC Radio National Australia. More recent research includes: an NSF Career award for improving our understanding of global severe thunderstorm frequency,  an NSF funded project into the processes that produce large hail, fieldwork as a co-lead of a National Geographic Expeditions Council funded project focusing on novel tornado observations, and application of novel statistical methods to characterize atmospheric phenomena.

Group Members


We always are always looking for new students to join the group at the Ph.D. level through the Earth and Ecosystem Science program.

We currently have two openings for Ph.D. students starting Spring 2023. The first project relates to climate and severe weather, and how this relates to local risk in North America, through use of data, convective storm parameters, climate models and statistical methods to assess risk. This project could be suited to a student with a background in M.S. in meteorology, atmospheric sciences or in statistical methods/data science. The second project is more focused on storm scale processes around supercell thunderstorms, and understanding those that move to the left of the mean flow. An M.S. in meteorology, atmospheric sciences is preferred. For exceptional candidates, a bachelors degree may be considered for accelerated entry to the PhD program

We also have an opportunity for a renewable position for a Postdoctoral Research Scientist, to begin Spring 2023.

Other opportunities come up regularly! Projects could include those found through this page, but Dr. Allen is happy to work with students to find other sources of support. Feel free to email Dr. Allen with questions or to express your interest.

Postdoctoral Research Scientists

Dr. Deepak Gopalakrishnan

Dr. Gopalakrishnan joined the group at CMU in Fall 2022, as part of the project Geospatial predictive analysis of damaging hail and wind occurrences in the lower 48 states and Canada .

Graduate Students

Cameron Nixon


nixon3cj [at] cmich [dot] edu
Cameron joined the group at CMU in Fall 2019, pursuing his Ph.D. in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program, supported by the NSF PREEVENTS hail project (NSF-AGS1855054).

Cameron's research focus is on the wind environments associated with supercell storms, especially those producing hail. Cameron graduated with a B.S. in Meteorology from Valparaiso University, and comes to the group after completing research as a Masters student at Texas Tech University looking at lightning as a predictor for tornadic activity.

Carlos Mario Cuervo López

Carlos Photo

cuerv1cm [at] cmich [dot] edu
Carlos joins the group at CMU in Spring 2021, pursuing his Ph.D. in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program, supported by the NSF CAREER project 'Toward a Global Understanding of Severe Convective Environments' (NSF-AGS1945286). Carlos completed a Bachelors of Civil Engineering, and subsequently a Masters of Engineering in Hydraulic Resources at the Universidad Nacionale de Colombia at Medellin, Colombia.

Alan Jesus García Rosales

Alan Photo

garci3aj [at] cmich [dot] edu
Alan joined the group at CMU in Summer 2021, pursuing his Ph.D. in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program, supported by the NSF CAREER project 'Toward a Global Understanding of Severe Convective Environments' (NSF-AGS1945286). Alan completed a Bachelors of Science at National Agrarian University La Molina, Peru, and subsequently a Masters of Science at the Institute of Astronomy, Geophysics and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Sáo Paulo, Brazil. Alan was formerly an Advanced Environmental Modeling Analyst at the National Meteorology and Hydrology Service of Peru.

Visiting Graduate Students

Visitors are welcome - contact Dr. Allen.

Undergraduate Students

Ethan O'Neill

Ethan Photo

CMU Senior
Ethan is working on the development of new datasets of severe weather observations through use of radar and environmental analysis.

Mitchell Green

CMU Junior
Mitchell is working on exploring global differences in hail environments.

Group Alumni - Graduate Students

Dr. Maria J. Molina

Maria Photo

timme1mj [at] cmich [dot] edu
Maria successfully defended her Ph.D. in the Earth and Ecosystem Science Program in April 2019, completed an NCAR ASP Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, and spent time as a Project Scientist at NCAR. Maria is beginning as a faculty member at the University of Maryland in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in Fall 2022, you can check out her group page here.

Maria's research focus was on extreme weather and climate. Maria completed her Masters of Climate and Society thesis with Dr. Allen at Columbia University. Her Ph.D. research focused on the variability of severe convective storms, exploring these problems through the use of climatological analysis of observations and favorable environments, the moisture origins of tornadic storms using Lagrangian parcel trajectories and attributing tornado activity to anomalous sea surface temperatures using modeling perturbation studies. Maria won a Student Oral Presentation Award at the 29th AMS Conference on Severe Local Storms for her work using Lagrangian parcel trajectories.

Nicholas Bogen

Nick Photo

BS Meteorology (CMU 2019), MS GIS (CMU 2020)
Nick graduated in Spring 2019 with Meteorology degree from Central Michigan University, and completed his accelerated Masters of Science in Geographic Information Science program through the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at CMU, focusing on the impacts of hail on agricultural losses across the United States. Nick is now a GIS Coordinator in Bay City, MI.

Group Alumni - Visiting Scholars

Dr. Bartosz Czernecki

Assistant Professor, Department of Meteorology and Climatology, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland
Bartosz was a visiting scientist sponsored by a Polish National Research Foundation Grant as a visiting scientist for 2 months in Fall 2019. His work focused on post-processing of climate model data to explore the impacts of climate change on severe convective storms over the US and Europe.

Letícia dos Santos


deoli1l [at] cmich [dot] edu
Leticia is a Ph.D. candidate and Fullbright Brazil Scholar, and visited for the academic year 2021-2022 from the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, where she works with Dr. Ernani Nascimento.

Leticia's research focuses on severe thunderstorm environments in Brazil and their climatology.

Group Alumni - Undergraduate Students

Elizabeth Wawrzyniak (CMU Graduate 2022)

Liz Photo

MS Student, Northern Illinois University (Fall 2022)
Elizabeth first looked at hailstorm environments and the synoptic precursors that lead to these events under the NSF PREEVENTS project, and exploring how they vary geographically. Her 2nd project worked on dryline detection under the NOAA JTTI project.

Scott Thomas

Scott Photo

CMU Senior
Scott worked on both the NSF CAREER and NSF PREEVENTS project, exploring the properties of hail environments between different regions. He recently received a 2022 NOAA Pathways Internship and in his senior year is focusing on forecasting skills and his current role as the AMS Student Chapter President.

Dennis Weaver (CMU Grad 2021)

Dennis Photo

MS Student, Villanova University
Dennis was a NOAA Hollings scholar and Honors student, completing his thesis with Dr. Allen. His research looked at approaches that can be used with storm data to infer the resulting impacts to property and life. Dennis looked at damage relationships to hailstorm occurrence and properties and their relationship to the environment under the NSF PREEVENTS project.

Brian Horan (CMU Grad 2021)

MS Student, University of North Dakota
Brian worked on the use of social media scraping to obtain severe weather reports, and approaches to derive novel tornado observations from storm chaser imagery.He is now pursuing a Masters in Atmospheric Science at the University of North Dakota

Daniel Butler (CMU Grad 2020)

Dan Photo

MS Earth and Atmospheric Science University of Nebraska-Lincoln
NWS Intern, Spokane, WA
Dan looked at approaches to derive novel tornado observations from storm chaser imagery and presented his research at the 2020 AMS Annual Meeting. During summer 2019 he participated in the TORUS field campaign. Dan is hoping to go to graduate school to pursue research related to severe convective storms. He recently completed his Masters in Earth and Atmospheric Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Spring 2022, and is now an NWS Intern at the Spokane, WA office.

Olivia Vanbuskirk (CMU Grad 2020)

Olivia Photo

MS Geography, University of Oklahoma
Currently Pursuing PhD, University of Oklahoma
Olivia is looking at the distributional characteristics of hail size over major metropolitan areas. She presented her research at the 2020 AMS Annual Meeting, winning a 3rd prize for her oral presentation. Olivia received the American Meteorological Societies Women in Science Scholarship, and completed a summer REU at the University of Michigan. She completed a Masters in Geography at the University of Oklahoma in Spring 2022 and is now pursuing a Ph.D..

Anthony Wilson (CMU Grad 2020)

Anthony Photo

BS Geography

Currently Ph.D. Student, UCSD
Anthony completed a McNair Scholars summer project during 2018 and was part of NCAR's SOARS program summer 2019. He is now a graduate research assistant at Scripps Institute at the University of California, San Diego.

Emily Tinney (CMU Grad 2018)

Emily Photo

MS Meteorology, University of Oklahoma

Currently Ph.D. Candidate in Meteorology, University of Oklahoma
Emily completed an Honors Thesis and research project on climate change and severe storms during 2017/2018, and received her MS at the University of Oklahoma in Fall 2020.

Cody Converse (CMU Grad 2018)

Cody Photo

MS Geography and Meteorology, Northern Illinois University
Air quality data specialist, DNR Wisconsin
Cody completed an independent research project on the sensitivity hail to simulated storms in WRF to microphysical parameterizations.

Brent Hewett (CMU Grad 2017)


MS Geography, Ball State University
NWS Forecaster, Twin Cities
Brent completed an independent research project looking at radar derived precipitation over the Davis Mountains in West Texas.

Matthew Tuftedal (CMU Grad 2017)

Matt Photo

MS Atmospheric Science, University of North Dakota
Instrumentation Specialist/Meteorologist, Radiometrics Corporation
Matt completed an independent study on the August 2016 Grand Rapids Tornado Outbreak.

Jaris Dingman (CMU Grad 2017)

Current Position Unknown

Jaris completed an independent research project looking at tornado occurrence over Michigan.